Woe to Tennessee Conservatives with Reading Comprehension Skills!

Coble gets it, but I see some of the rest of y’all are having a little trouble.

Rob Huddleston says:

While Stacey may be taking it on the chin right now as his bills are shredded by a do-nothing Democratic majority in the Tennessee House, he is positioning himself as a leader of the conservative movement in this state. Articles like this do nothing but cement Stacey as one of our leaders.

Hold up there!  Positioning himself as a leader of the conservative movement in Tennessee?

Y’all, seriously.  Do you read him?  Do you listen to what he says?  Or are you so enamored with the idea that there’s someone in the state legislature who drives the Democrats crazy, you’re willing to anoint him your leader, regardless of whatever fool thing comes out of his mouth?


–Is it okay that he threatened a local blogger’s job just because he didn’t like that said local blogger contradicted him?

–Is it okay that he proposed one of the most egregious violations of doctor/client confidentiality and government interference into medicine just because it furthers your anti-abortion goals?

–What about his willingness to prevent the county election commissions from releasing information they collect about the candidates?  How’s that promoting democracy?

As I said back in February

There are a few things I find extremely interesting.  One is that Campfield (a Republican) seems hell-bent on regulating the shit out of our lives.  Provide proof that you’re a U.S. citizen.  Provide information to the state about your medical history.  Provide information to your abuser when he or she wants it.  Provide DNA so that your father can feel sure that he’s yours.  Provide proof that you don’t discriminate.  Provide proof of your STD status.  Provide, provide, provide.

Your life is up for scrutiny and, if you fail to negotiate said scrutiny, you have to pay.

But check out  HB 796, which will surprise none of you.  While Campfield moves to make our lives more open to scrutiny, he’s moving to make his and his fellow legislators’ lives a little more opaque.

How’s us all living under scrutiny square withe a conservative agenda?  Seriously.

–The man thinks “Hitler” is a cute nickname for someone he likes.

–Coble’s point–the man said, in plain English, “What do I have to worry about? […]I might as well speak my mind and speak my piece.” and you didn’t, even in the back of your mind think, even as you were smiling at how much that would annoy some folks, “Well, yeah, but he does have to worry about his constituents, right?”

–And today he told you that he doesn’t mind being compared to Don Quixote.  Funny, I don’t recall devotion to a false belief, even in the face of crushing evidence otherwise, being a great quality in a leader.  But I’m open to hearing how the Republicans are best served by a man who thinks a willful acceptance of a clearly false reality to be a fine compliment.

That’s really what you want in a leader?

Or do you somehow believe him to be different than the man he seems to repeatedly prove himself to be?

23 thoughts on “Woe to Tennessee Conservatives with Reading Comprehension Skills!

  1. He was ust a little confused. He didn’t mean Don Quixote, he meant Richard Kiley. He doesn’t mind being compared to Richard Kiley.

  2. This will offend Tim W. over at Mother Tongue but …
    He. Is. Dangerous.
    The underestimated sometimes are. I’m moving into the camp that doesn’t think he’s a big joke but someone standing on the cusp of some very scary shit.

  3. I may be delirious from my travels cross Florida, but please dear God, if they really want him for a leader, please let him. Let the light shine on his self-absorbed windmill tilting. If he gets his way, I agree with Newscoma above, but the truth is, sometimes the David Dukes of this world need to get in the spotlight so the world can see the truth..

  4. Well, much of this piece was humorous, to say the least, but I particularly enjoyed the “nothing left to lose” bit, because it presupposes that he started out having anything to lose in the first place. That line is for people who have fought the good fight and have more or less lost everything (or have had a long string of failures) in the process and now they’re going balls out because, you know, what the hell?

    But Campfy the Wunderhund started at this point. He’s never fought the good fight at all–he’s always just sniped at people and things from a far-off tower from the safety of a gerrymandered district. When he starts really fighting the good fight, that’s when he’ll actually earn some pludits. Many times, though, fighting the good fight doesn’t get you a lot of publicity, which is really what he’s in it for. Of course, Cho Seung Hui’s gotten a lot of publicity too lately, so there you go.

    And, really now–fencing? Well, as I said to Terry Frank when she was having one of her creepy Stacey-gasms because he’s supposedly some kind of martial arts expert: why doesn’t he just use a gun like a normal person?

  5. Kat? I couldn’t tell if you were joking, so … what exactly is it that makes fencing, in your opinion, an “elitist sport”? I fenced in high school. I’ve known plenty of folks, male and female, who fenced. There wasn’t much, at the time, that indicated it was an “elitist” sport. “Not as popular as a lot of other sports” might be more accurate. I don’t think you can use them interchangeably, however.

  6. what exactly is it that makes fencing, in your opinion, an “elitist sport”?

    Yea, what kid from Cabrini Green doesn’t dream of one day owning his own epee’? I say any sport played by less 1/2 of 1% of the population is indeed elitist.

    I caution those that dismiss the good Representative as an idiot, he is cagey and manipulative. What bothered me after meeting him is that his whole focus is about gaining power. He may well possess the tools necessary for that, sadly, once there, I doubt he has the well roundedness to actually pass bills that will make a difference to his constituents.

  7. Elitism: The belief that certain persons or members of certain classes or groups deserve favored treatment by virtue of their perceived superiority, as in intellect, social status, or financial resources.

    While it may be fair to tar Stacey Campbell with that brush, I don’t think it’s either fair or right to paint fencers with it. From my vantage point (as a fencer, sister of a fencer, and acquantance of fencers), I hold that the sport would more fairly be described as “less popular.” Believe me, there weren’t great crowds of people clamoring to fence for the school, who were being turned away.
    You make the distinction yourself: Yea, what kid from Cabrini Green doesn’t dream of one day owning his own epee’? When other folks are choosing not to play the sport, it doesn’t make the sport elitist.

    Way to go, though. It’s like starting the day with an unexpected smack to the head.

  8. No worries, Mack. We’ve taught those fuckers in Cabrini Green to reject fencing. We tore their homes down.

    La BellaDonna, I think the point that Mack is trying to make is that it seems like Campfield tries to present himself as just a regular joe, but also gives these hints–the fencing, the Cyrano reference, the Don Quixote quoting–that his presentation may just be that.

  9. LBD, I fence. I’m a drama kid, and we all have to fence. It’s part of the gig, just like a passable British accent and the ability to put on your own stage makeup.

    I’ve never really considered fencing to be something which really ENGAGES most people. I know that this is a big argument in Fencing circles. The non-drama heads I know who fence ENJOY fencing because of its elitist overtones here in the States.

    Granted, Fencing is one of those sports that is associated with the Elite over here, but not in other countries.

    I realise I’m assuming something, but knowing what I know of Campfield, he seems like precisely the type of person who would take up Fencing out of pretension, without any regard for its history or cultural context.

    An anecdote: I wrote to the author of the article and told her that Joplin didn’t write Bobby McGee so it was erroneous to attribute the ‘freedom is another word…’ quote to Joplin instead of Kristofferson. (Yeah, I’m an asshole like that when it comes to KK.) She claims that Campfield himself attributed the quote to Joplin.

    That right there says a lot about the man to me. It tells me he’s very conscious of wanting to appear a certain way. He pulls out a “Janis Joplin” quote to appear hip and with-it, even though he’s not hip enough to know that it ISN’T a “Janis Joplin” quote. To my mind it also says that he’s taken up Fencing because
    1. Its perceived elitist overtones in the states
    2. penile substitution

    So fencing itself may not be elitist in origin or global practice. But I’d bet a buttcheek Campfield chose it precisely because of the perception of elitism.

  10. Kat —

    I think the word we’re looking for here is “dilettante.”

    And “political sociopath.” Not sure if there is such a thing as a political sociopath, but if there is, he’d be a perfect case study.

  11. I’m too lazy and slow now, but I fenced in college. The best fencers in our program were guys destined for investment banking and women born to the pearls-and-cashmere set; they’d fenced in single-sex prep schools and used fencing as a metaphor for social domination. I think they rather regretted that the weapons weren’t sharp enough to kill.

  12. “going balls out” “Stacy-gasm” “dilletante” and “Political sociopath”

    I don’t think I’ve ever read so many aptly used, descriptive phrases written by one person
    all on one subject before. Those are all awesome. If only you could get those to be Google
    links for Campfield. Well done. Keep going.

  13. Well, Kat, I’m … glad* that you’ve at least run into elitist fencers, yourself. Otherwise that was a whap! upside the head that came out of left field, and not a sterling start to a Monday.

    I do maintain, though, that since it is a sport which is not chosen by the majority, it’s not elitist, because it’s their choice. It’s like calling knitters “elitist,” because not everybody wants to knit. It would be one thing if Fencing was curling its lip saying, “We don’t want you!” That would be elitist. But when the majority is going “Fencing? Not for us, thanks!” it’s really not the fault of fencing.

    Speaking as a member that fenced both for love of the sport and out of necessity (drama requirement!), and as someone who’s taught it upon occasion, most of the people I knew who fenced tended to be amongst the “marginalized,” not the “elite.”

    And also? Whether you regard us as “elitist” or not – we** don’t want Stacey Campbell.

    *That would be the kind of “glad” that isn’t actually glad, but at least you speak from first-hand experience, for which I’m sorry.

    **At least, I sure as heck don’t. I don’t think the other people I know would, either, but it would be presumptuous of me to speak for them without polling them first.

  14. It’s like calling knitters “elitist,” because not everybody wants to knit

    I am an elitist knitter. I’m pissed at all the yarny-come-latelies to my hobby.

    most of the people I knew who fenced tended to be amongst the “marginalized,” not the “elite.”

    My first exposure to fencing was in a teen drama group. Everyone there was marginalised. Fat girls and gay boys. It was the CAPITAL of “marginalised” people.

    My subsequent exposure in college was to a bunch of people like bridgett described. A room full of Frasier & Niles Cranes. Everyone I’ve ever met in adulthood who fences competitively seems to be more of that ilk–that very country-clubbish uppercrust ‘you have no business fencing’ group. And I was told I wasn’t wanted, so that has stuck with me.

  15. Pingback: Nashville is Talking » Campfield the Cure for TN GOP

  16. Kat, my experience has been with Group A (the misfits), and not Group B (that other bunch). I took a deep breath and assumed that you’d had personal experience of Group B, for which I am sorry. I figured there was no other reason you’d go out of your way to unilaterally insult a specific group of people (of whom I happen to be a member) who weren’t actively involved with making your life difficult.

    It still stung.

  17. At a personal level, I think sport choices generally fall into the framework you describe, La Bella Donna. The choice to pursue a sport is a personal one, with as many possible influences as any others. You get people who do it because they think they should, and people who do it because they enjoy it, and people who do it because it’s the only sport offered that isn’t basketball, or because that really cute guy/girl does it…and so on and so forth.

    Going a little more macro with it… fencing is expensive. Not just equipment, of course (one could argue that of cheerleading, which generally costs participants hundreds of dollars in uniforms, camp fees, and paraphenalia) or in infrastructure (football requires coaches, locker rooms, and places for games, along with the associated uniforms and training and equipment), but structurally. Poorer places tend to have their hands full with the mainstream sports, which tend to take up the vast majority of available extracurricular resources (and may also be important revenue streams, which is often the justification for the amount of emphasis placed on them).

    Poorer places are also far less likely to allow weapons of any sort to fall into the hands of their students. My high school, for instance, had closed both its home ec and auto shop classes years before I got there. Part of that was lack of funding for non-core subjects (another structural issue that poor schools have to overcome; forget fencing, many of them are struggling to have calculus), but part of that was the exceedingly pervasive fear of letting those kids have things that could be used to hurt people. In a world where they ripped out all the lockers for fear of someone hiding something in them (then put them back subject to random search with and without narcotics dogs and with and without their owners presence/permission/notification, then took them out again), and most teachers would only provide safety scissors for their students, the idea of letting kids use kitchen knives or welding torches is absolutely out of the question.

    In an atmosphere like that, who is going to be for teaching kids swordsmanship? And even if someone wanted to concede its merit, why would they divert funds from the sports that are popular and make money?

    It’s like that with Latin, too. I wanted to learn Latin in high school, like many of my friends who went to private school. But my school only offered Spanish and French (and that only barely), and I didn’t have the scheduling flexibility to go elsewhere. And for those few who did manage it (not any of my direct group, but other kids I knew), they found themselves at the disadvantage of coming late to the game; at the schools that could offer Latin, most of the kids in the class had been taking it (or preparing for it) for years, because they went to schools that could afford to offer Latin.

    It gets all circular.

    Then you layer on the elitism issue, and the alienation issue, and you’ve got this sort of thing.

    Wait, that’s starting in the middle, isn’t it?

    Ahem. Backing up… both Group A and Group B feed into the elitism thing, though from different sides.

    Others have remarked on the Group Bs. They’ve got all the advantages and ruin it for others. I want to talk about the Group As.

    I went to a college that was characterized largely by the misfit status of its students. We didn’t do the sports thing, or the greek thing. Our admissions material was all about how we were different, special, cool. We didn’t get to see our grades (but we knew we were awesome anyway). If you were a goth or a punk or genderqueer or a cross-dresser or a hippy or never wore anything that once had skin, you’d fit in just fine. That was the point. We were weirder, more obscure, more scholarly than thou and if you didn’t like it, you just couldn’t understand. You just weren’t smart enough, or cool enough.

    Thus the elitism of the misfit.

    I’m not saying that you’re doing this, La Bella Donna. I believe you when you say that you’re not. But my experience has been one where the elitism of the misfits has stung as much as (or more than) the elitism of the, well, elite.

    In college, the only sport that was truly big was (women’s) Rugby, with Ultimate Frisbee and soccer vying for a distant second. We’re too hardcore for football! (Which is just rugby without the padding anyway, of course) PE was fencing, or Argentine Tango, or Kayaking, Juggling, or three different types of Yoga. Only the most determined (and talented) bothered with anything so pedestrian as basketball.

    I’ll grant that I didn’t like PE anyway, and wouldn’t have played basketball unless forced to. (I did Ballroom Dance, Juggling, and Yoga for Relaxation) And all of the things I listed are cool. That’s not the issue. The issue was that a lot of people picked things because they were obscure, not because they liked them. And that people who were good at any of the things listed wore it as a badge of superiority… because it was different, they were different, and the only way they could greet the hierarchy of the outside world was to flip it on its head.

    Which leaves me in a weird place, pondering authenticity of desire, and my own strange journey to the post of ‘defender of the somewhat mainstream,’ especially in the light of my personal preference for obscurity and oddness.

    Anyway. That was longer than I’d intended, and I really need to go copy things. I just wanted to point out that a) there were macro considerations at play as well, and b) my personal experience has been that Groups A and B can behave pretty similarly.

  18. I thought Don Quixote titled at windmills but now I’m half convinced he fenced goal posts…

    But what I thought about saying from the posting – a long way from comment 23 was that Bush Jnr has no problem appearing stupid because he knows that voters don’t really give a damn if someones not firing on all cylinders as long as he’s got the good ideas – whereas if you appear inteligent and smart – the american electorate draws in a collective breath and asks itself – ‘Can we trust this guy?’ Appearances have to be lanced to get behind the political mask, or fencing thing, as in the issue of making everybody else answer questions and trying to stop people from saying their mind whilst he can of course do that…

    Just a thought…

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